All Saints Catholic Community was officially established as a parish of the Diocese of Dallas by the Bishop, Most Reverend Thomas Tschoepe, on March 26, 1976. Reverend Raphael Kamel was appointed Pastor as 390 families from St. Rita’s, St. Paul’s and St. Mark’s Parishes formed our new community. The parish was named “All Saints” by its members during a Town Hall meeting led by Father Kamel. Parish boundaries are Belt Line Road on the South, Marsh Lane on the West, Frankford Road on the North and Coit Road on the East.
All Saints grew quickly in size and spirit. Father Michael Duca became the first Associate Pastor and Frank Milliken was the first parishioner to receive Holy Orders with his ordination to the Permanent Deaconate.
An 800-seat church was completed and the official blessing and dedication of the Church and Rectory was held on All Saints Day, 1979. The following year, Father Kamel was elevated to the rank of Monsignor. By 1981, All Saints had 1,900 registered families while weekly Mass attendance averaged 3,600. The large frontal stained glass window was installed marking the end of the first phase building program. It is inspired by the quote from Rev 5: 9 – “men <and women> of every race and tongue, of every people and nation.” The windows along each side represent items used in Catholic worship and the ones around the back depict the Beatitudes (the Year A Gospel passage for All Saints Day), The windows in the chapel invite us to contemplate various apparitions of the Blessed Mother.
In January 1983, the total parish debt was paid off. On March 27 of the same year ground was broken for the second phase building. The Kamel Life Center was finished and furnished by 1984.
Staff expansion in 1984 included the departments of Liturgy, Music, Religious Education, Youth Ministry, Life Center Director and Business Manager. That same year, Father (now Bishop) Gregory Kelly introduced the RCIA program to the parish, and registration grew to over 2,900 families with an average Mass attendance at 4,400 - including over 1,200 children in the Religious Education program. We also participated in several additional outreach efforts in 1984, including ecumenical dialogues between Lutheran and Catholic ministers, as well as study groups between Congregation Shearith Israel and All Saints emphasizing common roots and origins.
The Marian Flower Garden was built outside the Church atrium in 1985. The first priestly vocation from the parish came in 1986 with ordination and first Mass of Father David Flori, who had been an invaluable asset to the administration of the parish with his expertise in finance. The Little Saints Pre-School Child Development Program began in 1986 with 50 children. Sister Karen Anderson was the parish’s first religious vocation in 1988. She made her Profession in the Daughters of St. Paul.
A second priestly vocation from All Saints was celebrated when Father Stanley Corcoran was ordained on March 17, 1990. Later that year the Diocese announced the establishment of a new parish in Plano, Prince of Peace. The opening of Prince of Peace reduced the level of registered families at All Saints to 3,500 from its peak of 4,056.
In 1991, Father Paul Gray came to All Saints as Parochial Vicar and remained active in our parish beyond his retirement until his death in 2009. The St Joseph garden in the courtyard was dedicated to Father Paul by the Men’s Club in 2012.
On May 18, 1992, the parish lost its beloved founder when Monsignor Kamel was called to Heaven. After the Mass of Christian Burial at All Saints, his body was returned to his home in Tyler, Texas, for burial in the family plot.
Monsignor Robert Rehkemper was named pastor on August 30, 1992. In 1993 the parish began a three-year discernment process to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit on how to best pass on our Faith to our children. In 1995 the Discernment Committee recommended that the parish 1) enhance adult and family education programs, 2) enhance and expand the parish youth ministry, and 3) build an elementary school.
The discernment process led to the expansion of Little Saints to a full time program. Along with this expansion, it was announced in June 1996 that the parish would open a school in the 1998 academic year. Principal Martie Owan joined the All Saints staff in August of the same year.
Msgr. Rehkemper retired in the fall of 1997 and Father Tom Cloherty was named pastor in February 1998.
Property for the school was purchased on Osage Plaza Parkway in the spring of 1998 and classes began in the Kamel Life Center in August 1998 with 57 students. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held in December 2001 with construction beginning in January 2002.
In mid-2003, All Saints Catholic Community had a registration of 3,449 families with an average Mass attendance of 3,117. Little Saints, which earned accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children in 1999, had an enrollment of 182 children representing 150 families. The Religious Education Program served approximately 350 children from age 3 through Junior High and the Youth Program counted approximately 200 teens among its participants. All Saints Catholic School, in its fifth year of operation, had an enrollment of 147 students. In preparation for the 2004 stewardship campaign, a review of parish registrations (calling each registrant to determine current status) resulted in a reduction of registered families to 2,849. Average weekly attendance leveled at about 2,400-2,500.
The fall of 2003 brought the first Fall Festival, which was held on the grounds of the new school. Phase I of the renovation of the sanctuary was initiated, and the approval was received to proceed with a loan of over $5 million to pay off existing school loans. That fall construction began to complete interior of the school and August 2004, students moved to the new facility. In 2013, the Little Saints Child Development Program began to transition and integrate its programs with those of ASCS.
Phase II of the sanctuary renovation was undertaken during the summer of 2006 and dedicated at Easter of 2007. This phase included the nave, narthex, new lighting and the new Baptismal Font.
The 2008 capital campaign was undertaken to complete the worship space renovation (Chapel, connecting hallway), to reduce or eliminate the debt, and to build sports fields at the school.
In July 2010, All Saints bid farewell to our Pastor of over 12 years, Father Tom Cloherty, and welcomed Bishop Mark Seitz as our new shepherd. This event ushered in a new chapter in the history of the very vibrant and energetic community of faithful Catholic believers.
In May 2011, the Master Plan Committee presented their vision of the next 20 years to a parish “town hall” meeting. The Master Plan included, among other things, a relocated adoration chapel, upgraded/additional gathering spaces, administrative office spaces, expanded sanctuary seating, athletic fields for the school and expansion of the school gymnasium. All Saints bid God’s speed to Bishop Mark in July 2013, as Pope Francis appointed him to be the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of El Paso.
Father Anthony Lackland arrived from the SMU Campus Ministry to become our fifth Pastor and to guide the community of All Saints in our quest to know and do the will of God. During his tenure, All Saints strengthened our ties with the Newman Ministries at the UT-Dallas campus and renewed our emphasis on Young Adult Ministry. We celebrated our 40th anniversary with a new logo and a year-long celebration exemplified by the “40 Acts of Kindness” campaign for the benefit of the Prestonwood Elementary School (where the original All Saints families met and worshiped prior to the construction of the church). In September 2016, Prestonwood Elementary was presented with a truckload of school supplies, children’s clothing, gift cards, etc. To say the least the faculty at the school was overwhelmed and extremely grateful. Our “founding families” were honored with a dinner in July and a grand gala banquet completed the anniversary year in November.
The renovation of the sanctuary was crowned by the installation and dedication of the new Crucifix in 2017. The “Risen Christ” that had welcomed parishioners and visitors for over 30 years was relocated to the Narthex near the Welcome Center and continues to greet all who enter our worship area. The new Crucifix from the Lawrence Hoy Studios was carefully created to complete the “picture” along with the existing statues of Mary and Joseph on either side. The statues were enhanced with the golden background frames and medallions to blend with the new Crucifix
In July 2017, Father Tony accepted a new assignment as Vice Rector of the Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving and Father Alfonse Nazzaro was named Pastoral Administrator. A new processional cross (a replica of the main crucifix) will be introduced in November, 2017.
(A more detailed history of All Saints can be found in the 40th Anniversary Commemoative Booklet that was prepared at the close of the 40th anniversary year and distributed at the Gala Banquet.)
Prepared from information obtained from parishioners, the Parish Library, the Parish Website and the School website. Last updated September, 2017 Mary Anne Woods